by Dr. Bryce Arndt
Most bottled oils we see on the shelf in the cooking aisle are in a liquid form; they are processed using a high-temperature pressing technique and the application of an extraction solvent called hexane, a component of gasoline. Remnants of hexane can then be ingested after the process of separating the oil from the seed is complete.
Canola and vegetable oils undergo further treatment through a corrosive refining process using chemicals intended to reduce the unpleasant smell healthy omega 3s release when exposed to oxygen. According to the University of Florida-Gainesville, this refining process removes unwanted odor, but also turns the omega 3s into artificial trans-fats in up to 4.6 percent of the oil volume. The last phase of processing is hydrogenation, required to give oil an extended shelf life. This phase further boosts the unhealthy trans-fats to a staggering 40 percent of the oil volume. These trans-fats are not required to be listed on the label because they are a byproduct of the process and not an original ingredient.
Finally, a recent Northwestern University study found that a form of Vitamin E in soybean, corn and canola oils contributes to inflammation of the lungs, and can result in asthma and other respiratory ailments.
The safest bet is to stick with virgin and cold-pressed oils, such as solid form coconut oil, or extra virgin olive oil, which have not undergone any processing. Consider certain high-oleic sunflower oils as well.
Bryce Arndt is a chiropractor and certified acupuncturist, with a focus on functional medicine. For more information, call 614-382-2710.